by Susan M. Lefler

The newest addition to Arcadia Publishing’s Then & Now series is Brevard from local author Susan M. Lefler. The book boasts more than 200 vintage and modern images, comparing the town’s past to its present.

The North Carolina legislature established Transylvania County in 1861, just as the Civil War began. Although land was donated for the new county seat, Brevard was not incorporated until 1868. The arrival of the railroad in 1894 made possible a burgeoning logging industry and an increase in tourism.

Highlights of Brevard:

• Downtown
• Civic life and services
• Birth and death of industry
• Tourism and sport
• Education and the arts
• Homes and churches

Comparing our present to our past is how we understand our history. Arcadia’s Then & Now series makes such local comparisons available. Books in this series offer a special view of American life, placing historical images side by side with contemporary photographs.

Arcadia Publishing is the leading publisher of local and regional history in the United States. Their mission is to make history accessible and meaningful through the publication of books on the heritage of America’s people and places. Have they done a book on your town? Visit

Susan M. Lefler, a Brevard resident for over thirty years, explores a city that has developed an interest in historic restoration and has continued to thrive after the loss of its major industries.

Arcadia Publishing
$21.99, softcover
ISBN: 978-0738592008
December 5, 2011
Available anywhere books are sold or through the publisher


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Rendering the Bones
by Susan Lefler

Instead of drawing edges / draw the heart of the thing: thus opens the first poem of Susan Lefler's Rendering the Bones. Lefler sets up a serious imperative for her reader, and honestly so, since throughout this deeply moving and exquisitely crafted book, she never fails to follow her own advice. Lefler moves easily between a world of broken umbrellas, mad old roosters, stubborn warts and a darker world of earthquakes, hurricanes, the poignant deaths of her own mother and father. I have long awaited a full-length collection by this fine poet. Rendering the Bones is even more deeply satisfying than I imagined.
- Cathy Smith Bowers

Rendering the Bones is a living mandala that opens and opens at its center in an endless dance of disappearance, transformation and reappearance, "drawing life from so far back it's new." These poems hold together with a tenderness that dissolves the boundaries between the world we're given to know and the one we are not…. "What is it like to crawl / from your own mouth / leaving crystal tangles on the floor?" the voice of the collection asks a snake at large in an abandoned house, and the poems themselves answer - the earth quakes and we can only "continue to breathe / and plead / and shake."
- Diane Gilliam

In a time when writing poetry seems to be more about self-promotion than art, Susan Lefler's first collection of poems brings us gently back to the transformation that happens when poetry becomes a way of rendering one's life.… Rendering the Bones achieves what the late Richard Hugo claimed was the bottom line for any poem - believability. The reader trusts these poems, knowing they contain no empty air, rather the human breath itself rendering the things of this world and their mysteries through language.
- Kathryn Stripling Byer

Rendering the Bones (Wind Publications)
ISBN 978-1-936138-30-2 $15.00
Available from your local bookstore, from online vendors such as Amazon or Barnes and Noble, or from the publisher.
Review copies available upon request. E-mail [email protected]
Wind Publications, 600 Overbrook Dr, Nicholasville, Kentucky 40356


Brevard, North Carolina, "land of waterfalls," is tucked into a lush valley in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Brevard was founded as the county seat of Transylvania County in 1861, the year that North Carolina seceded from the Union. Wealthy families from South Carolina's Lowcountry had long summered in the mountains and, even after the war, the region maintained its powerful pull. The arrival of the railroads brought tourists to Brevard from all over the country-including Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, and Harvey Firestone-and the logging industry attracted entrepreneurs who made their fortunes here. Brevard reveals the city's rich heritage through a gallery of images: baptism in an icy river, an ostrich race on Main Street, a moonshine still. In these pages, the reader can visit grist mills, waterfalls, and exquisite hotels, explore the booming logging industry, relive parades and downtown scenes, and read the intriguing stories of local folks.

Having lived in Brevard for 27 years, author Susan M. Lefler has had ample opportunity to discover what makes it unique. Her play The Twelfth Star was produced at Brevard Music Center in 1987 as part of Transylvania County's celebration of the bicentennial of the United States Constitution. Her work, both poetry and fiction, has appeared in numerous journals and she has been a writer and editor for Smoky Mountain Living magazine.

About this copy:

Binding: Paperback
Publisher: Arcadia Publishing
Date published: 02/2004
ISBN-13: 9780738516127
ISBN: 0738516120